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Poor audio quality, skipping records. Damaged needle?

 

New member
Username: Icculus

Post Number: 7
Registered: May-09
Family was in town last week which means there were children aged 0-6 everywhere. Friday: turntable worked great. Saturday: not so much.

So the player sounds terrible all of a sudden. I thought it might be the preamp. I unplugged it from the wall, unplugged the wires itself... no solution

I later realized it couldn't be the wires/connection because the record was skipping anyway. Every record was skipping.

My train of thought made me think it was the downforce. I upped it a little bit... then a lot. Nothing fixed it. Still really poor quality and skipping.

My current thought is that my nephew, who was caught 'tampering' with the record player the day in question, damaged the needle. Ocular inspection has been inconclusive because I have no basis for comparison.

The needle is a Shure M85ED and I'll check the table model number if it'll help.

Does it sound like the needle is broken? Could it be rotated or something?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15962
Registered: May-04
.

The stylus tip may have been snapped off or the cantilever might be bent. Both would result in skipping records, as would a tonearm that is out of balance. What you shouldn't have done is indiscriminately turned the counterweight without having any idea what you were adding to the downforce of the arm.

You first need to rebalance the arm and set the appropriate tracking force for the cartridge - this should be about 1 1/2 to 2 grams. Don't track the cartridge at the light end of its range, that is a misconception that will result in damage to the records with a lower priced arm. Here are some generic instructions for arrriving at zero static balance (no downforce) from which you mark a "0" reference point; http://www.audiophilia.com/features/cartridge_setup.htm From that reference of "no downforce" you can then add the appropriate amount of downward tracking force. It's important you establish "0" first and then set the counterweight to "0" before you add any tracking force. If the table has any anti-skate provisions, you'll adjust that scale to match the tracking force. In other words, 1 1/2 grams of VTF will result in an anti-skate setting of 1 1/2. Setting and adjusting a table are covered in several threads on this forum and you can find more information by backtracking some of the archived threads.


If the arm still refuses to track a disc, pull the stylus assembly out of the cartridge. With a Shure you'll see the stylus assembly is the molded plastic piece that sits at the bottom front of the cartridge body. Lock the arm down so it can't move and pull straight forward to remove the stylus assembly. Under a good light and with some magnification, look for a stylus tip. The 85 cartridge has a "bonded" stylus which means the actual diamond tip is glued to a metal shank that protrudes from the cantilever arm. The shank seldoms snaps off the cantilever while the stylus is more fragile. So make certain you are seeing a diamond tip on the cantilever and not just a shank that once held a stylus. You re-insert the stylus assembly in same way you removed it, after aligning the pole piece into the cartridge body just push straight forward until the assembly touches the cartridge body. Re-check the arm's balance after this.

If all of this seems too much for you, any shop that sells turntables should be able to re-adjust the arm. Usually this will be a pro audio shop that sells to DJ's or a higher quality consumer audio shop - don't bother with a big box like Best Buy. If you have the arm balanced and adjusted properly and if there is a stylus on a straight cantilever, the arm should track a disc without problem. If this isn't the case, the table might be out of synch with its automatic functions. This will likely require a trip to a technician. Getting a table back in synch is also covered in archived threads.



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New member
Username: Icculus

Post Number: 8
Registered: May-09
Thanks for all the info!

I had done all of the tutorials on balancing cartridges and was pretty sure that wasn't the issue.

I am quite positive that the issue is the shank is no longer on the cantilever. Images I have seen do not seem to mimic my current setup. The cantilever appears to be hollow when I look down it. Also it barely goes past the vertical part of the assembly.

Any suggestions on retailers for needle replacements? Should I just get the replacement needle for the M95ED?

Thank you for the help!


***Excuse a typo in my first post: It is an M95ED
 

New member
Username: Icculus

Post Number: 9
Registered: May-09
Thanks for all the info!

I had done all of the tutorials on balancing cartridges and was pretty sure that wasn't the issue.

I am quite positive that the issue is the shank is no longer on the cantilever. Images I have seen do not seem to mimic my current setup. The cantilever appears to be hollow when I look down it. Also it barely goes past the vertical part of the assembly.

Any suggestions on retailers for needle replacements? Should I just get the replacement needle for the M95ED?

Thank you for the help!


***Excuse a typo in my first post: It is an M95ED
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